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Climate Change is really scary

To the editor:

These are historic times we find ourselves in. With more intense fires than ever before scorching swaths of forests in the West, unprecedented numbers of powerful hurricanes battering the Southeast, and floods that are drowning the Midwest, it seems almost biblical.

We used to be able to predict the number of acres burned annually by wildfires in California, but since the 1970’s those numbers have increased five-fold.

We used to predict that each year a deadly category four or five hurricane would have only a 20% chance of striking the coast, but in the last four years we’ve had five such hurricanes.

We are used to small annual flooding events along the Mississippi, but in 2011 and 2019 total system floods of every sub-basin of the river inundated the country, costing $4.3 billion dollars in damages (this year alone), choking crops, and affecting the livelihoods of some of the poorest counties in America.

The air is burning, the water is rising, and the storms are approaching. This will continue to get worse as our carbon emissions rise and the climate continues warming.

Here in the Keweenaw, the Earth collapsed beneath our feet during the Father’s Day Flood, an event that even the land itself was not prepared for. An article in the Upper Michigan Source news quotes the Houghton County Road Commission, “A thousand-year flood event. You really can’t design for that”.

That is precisely the danger of the changing climate we live in. Climate change means that we encounter weather that we have not designed for, that no human in the last 200,000 years has had to design for, because no human in existence has been witness to the way the climate is behaving now.

I can’t help but worry. I don’t want to live in a world that is constantly beat over the head by natural disasters; a world that is running out of time to recover from one blow before the next hits.

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